SAN FRANCISCO—Brooke Campbell Solis was sentenced to 37 months in prison and ordered to pay $500,000 in restitution for charges of wire fraud levied as part of a scheme to embezzle funds from her former employer, the report said. US Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair. The sentence was handed down by the Honorable James Donato, U.S. District Judge.
Solis, 51, of Austin, Texas, pleaded guilty to the charges on August 23, 2021. According to the plea agreement, as of January 2018, Solis was an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of California when she was hired by a San Francisco-based fintech company as legal counsel. For most of her employment, she was allowed to work remotely from her home in Austin, Texas. In her capacity as General Counsel, she managed the company’s legal, financial and accounting practices and in March 2019 she was promoted to Chief Business Officer of the company. As part of his job responsibilities, Solis was granted “super admin” privileges in the accounting and expense management programs used by his employer. According to the plea agreement, Solis admitted to using these privileges to defraud his former employer and embezzle money from the company.
One of the methods Solis used to defraud his former employer was to prepare and use fraudulent invoices. Specifically, she sought employer payment from a shell company, The Paralegal Group LLC, which she created and controlled. On June 2, 2019, Solis entered into a consulting agreement between The Paralegal Group and its employer. Solis used the initials “RD” to sign the agreement. On the same day that Solis signed the consulting agreement – both on his behalf as The Paralegal Group and for his employer – Solis also submitted an invoice for $9,222.50 from The Paralegal Group. The invoice was dated May 31, 2019, before the consulting contract even existed.
Another method Solis used to defraud his former employer was to seek reimbursement for fraudulent expenses. For example, on July 24, 2019, two days after terminating his employment with his former employer, Solis submitted a personal expense of $4,575, for 61 days of “boarding Jackson and Oliver” at a dog boarding facility. In the plea agreement, Solis admitted boarding the dogs was a personal expense. Nonetheless, at the time she submitted the fraudulent expense, she had access to her former employer’s account and still exercised super-administrative privileges that had not yet been revoked. In sum, Solis had his former employer pay the $4,575 and the funds were electronically deposited into his personal account.
Solis also continued to defraud the company after his departure. She was charged with and pleaded guilty to four wire fraud transactions, in which she embezzled at least $400,000 of company money into her own checking account nearly two months after her employment ended. In total, Solis stole over $500,000 from the victimized business.
On July 29, 2021, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California filed an information charging Solis with six counts of wire fraud, violation of 18 USC § 1343. Solis pleaded guilty to all six counts of accusation.
Solis agreed to waive his license to practice law as part of his plea deal. Judge Donato ordered the defendant to surrender and begin serving her prison sentence on March 21, 2022. In addition, Judge Donato ordered Solis to serve a three-year probation sentence beginning after the expiration of the prison term.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Harris is prosecuting the case. The charge is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.